FLORIDA SUPREME COURT

Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee

Opinion Number: 2008-13 (Election)1
Date of Issue: May 28, 2008

ISSUES

May a judicial candidate, who has retired from the circuit bench and enjoys senior status, use the title "Judge" in campaign literature, media releases, printed ads, or other media venues?

ANSWER: No.

 

FACTS

A judicial candidate, who retired as a circuit judge several years ago, is seeking election to a circuit judgeship.  The Judicial Candidate enjoys senior status and is eligible to serve as a judge in this capacity.                                                        

    

 

DISCUSSION

This inquiry is a follow-up to the inquiry in Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee Opinion 08-10.   The Inquiring Judicial Candidate enjoys the status of "senior judge" and is concerned about the use of the term "judge" in political ads.

    For the reasons expressed in Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Opinion 08-10, it would be improper to use the term "judge" in campaign literature, media releases, political ads, or other media venues.  This would convey the impression that the candidate is currently a sitting judge and would be a misrepresentation of the candidate's status.  However, use of the term "senior judge" is relevant and truthful and may be utilized by the candidate.

    

 

REFERENCES

Fla. JEAC Op. 08-10.

 

_____________


The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee is expressly charged with rendering advisory opinions interpreting the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to specific circumstances confronting or affecting the judge or judicial candidate. Its opinions are advisory to the inquiring party, to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and the judiciary at large. Conduct that is consistent with an advisory opinion issued by the Committee may be evidence of good faith on the part of the judge, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions by the Committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges, 698 So. 2d 834 (Fla. 1997). However, in reviewing the recommendations of the Judicial Qualifications Commission for discipline, the Florida Supreme Court will consider conduct in accordance with a Committee opinion as evidence of good faith. Id.

For further information, contact: Judge Lisa Davidson, Chair, Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, The Moore Justice  Center, 2825 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, FL 32940.

Participating Members:
Participating Members (Elections Subcommittee): Judge T. Michael Jones, Judge Michael Raiden, Judge Richard Townsend.


Copies furnished to:
Inquiring judge (Name of the Inquiring Judge deleted)
Justice Peggy Quince
Thomas D. Hall, Clerk of Supreme Court
All Committee Members
Executive Director of the J.Q.C.
Office of the State Courts Administrator

 

1.The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee has appointed an Election Practices Subcommittee. The purpose of this subcommittee is to give immediate responses to campaign questions in instances where the normal Committee procedure would not provide a response in time to be useful to the inquiring candidate or judge. Opinions designated with the “(Election)” notation are opinions of the Election Practices Subcommittee of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, and have the same authority as an opinion of the whole Committee.